Safeguarding Children and Child Protection
1.2 Safeguarding children and child protection
(Including, Prevent Duty, Managing allegations of abuse against a member of staff & Whistle Blowing)
Our club will work with children, parents and the community to ensure the rights and safety of children and to give them the very best start in life. Our safeguarding policy is based on the three key commitments. This policy should be viewed in conjunction with and which we adhere to British Gymnastic Safeguarding & Protecting Children Policy. This document can be viewed on www.british-gymnastics.org.uk
We carry out the following procedures to ensure we meet the three key commitments of the MK Springers Safeguarding Children Policy.
Key commitment 1
MK Springers is committed to building a ‘culture of safety’ in which children are protected from abuse and harm in all areas of its service delivery.
Staff and volunteers
- Our designated persons (a member of staff) who co-ordinate child protection issues are: Samantha Collins & Nicole Mundle.
- We ensure all staff and parents are made aware of our safeguarding policies and procedures.
- Staff are aware that if they have concerns in relation to Prevent Duty they should speak to our welfare officer/s.
- We provide adequate and appropriate staffing resources to meet the needs of children.
- Applicants for posts within the setting are clearly informed that the positions are exempt from the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974.
- Candidates are informed of the need to carry out ‘enhanced DBS checks before posts can be confirmed.
- Where applications are rejected because of information that has been disclosed, applicants have the right to know and to challenge incorrect information.
- We abide by Ofsted requirements in respect of references and DBS checks for staff and volunteers, to ensure that no disqualified person or unsuitable person works at the setting or has access to the children.
- Volunteers do not work unsupervised.
- We abide by the Protection of Vulnerable Groups Act requirements in respect of any person who is dismissed from our employment, or resigns in circumstances that would otherwise have led to dismissal for reasons of child protection concern.
- We take security steps to ensure that we have control over who comes into the setting so that no unauthorised person has unsupervised access to the children.
- We take steps to ensure children are not photographed or filmed on video for any other purpose than to record their gymnastic development or their participation in events organised by us or British Gymnastics.
Key commitment 2
MK Springers is committed to responding promptly and appropriately to all incidents or concerns of abuse, that may occur and to work with statutory agencies in accordance with the procedures that are set down in ‘What to do if you’re worried a child is being abused’ (HMG 2006).
Responding to suspicions of abuse
- We acknowledge that abuse of children can take different forms – physical, emotional, and sexual, as well as neglect.
- When children are suffering from physical, sexual or emotional abuse, or may be experiencing neglect, this may be demonstrated through the things they say (direct or indirect disclosure) or through changes in their appearance, their behaviour, or their training.
- We take into account factors affecting parental capacity, such as social exclusion, domestic violence, parent’s drug or alcohol abuse, mental or physical illness or parent’s learning disability.
- We are aware of other factors that affect children’s vulnerability such as abuse of disabled children, fabricated or induced illness, child abuse linked to beliefs in spirit possession, sexual exploitation of children such as through internet abuse, Radicalisation, Female Genital Mutilation that may affect or may have affected children and young people using our provision.
- We also make ourselves aware that some children and young people are affected by gang activity, by complex, multiple or organised abuse, through forced marriage or honour based violence or maybe victims of child trafficking. While this may be less likely to affect young children in our care we may become aware of any of these factors affecting older children and young people who train with us.
- Where we believe a child in our care or known to us may be affected by any of these factors we follow the procedure for reporting child protection concerns.
- Where such evidence is apparent, the child’s coach makes a dated record of the details of the concern and discusses what to do with the welfare officer, who is acting as the ‘designated person’. The information is recorded on an “Incidence form.
- We refer concerns to the local authority children’s social care department and co-operate fully in any subsequent investigation.
NB In some cases this may mean the police or another agency identified by the Local Safeguarding Children’s Board.
- We take care not to influence the outcome either through the way we speak to children or by asking questions of children.
- We take account of the need to protect young people aged 16-19 as defined by the Children Act 1989. This may include students or school children on work placement, young employees or young parents. Where abuse is suspected we follow the procedure for reporting any other child protection concerns. The views of the young person will always be taken into account, but the setting may override the young person’s refusal to consent to share information if it feels that it is necessary to prevent a crime from being committed or intervene where one may have been or to prevent harm to a child or adult. Sharing confidential information without consent is done only where not sharing it could be worse than the outcome of having shared it.
Recording suspicions of abuse and disclosures
- Where a child makes comments to a coach/member of staff that gives cause for concern (disclosure), observes signs or signals that gives cause for concern, such as significant changes in behaviour; deterioration in general well-being; unexplained bruising, marks or signs of possible abuse or neglect, that coach/ member of staff:
- listens to the child, offers reassurance and gives assurance that she or he will take action;
- does not question the child;
- makes a written record that forms an objective record of the observation or disclosure that includes:
- the date and time of the observation or the disclosure;
- the exact words spoken by the child as far as possible;
- the name of the person to whom the concern was reported, with date and time; and
- the names of any other person present at the time.
- These records are signed and dated and kept by the welfare office securely and confidentially.
- Where the Local Safeguarding Children Board stipulates the process for recording and sharing concerns, we include those procedures alongside this procedure and follow the steps set down by the Local Safeguarding Children Board.
Making a referral to the local authority social care team
- MK Springers will complete an incident form and adhere to ‘What to do if you are worried a child is being abused’ (HMG 2006).
- We keep a copy of this document alongside procedures set down by our Local Safeguarding Children Board
- Parents are normally the first point of contact. We discuss concerns with parents to gain their view of events unless we feel this may put the child in greater danger.
- We inform parents where we make a record of concerns and that we also make a note of any discussion we have with them regarding a concern.
- If a suspicion of abuse warrants referral to social care, parents are informed at the same time that the referral will be made, except where the guidance of the Local Safeguarding Children Board does not allow this, for example, where it is believed that the child may be placed in greater danger.
- This will usually be the case where the parent is the likely abuser. In these cases the social workers will inform parents.
Liaison with other agencies
- We work within the Local Safeguarding Children Board guidelines.
- We have a copy of ‘What to do if you’re worried a child is being abused’ for parents and staff and all staff are familiar with what to do if they have concerns.
- We have procedures for contacting the local authority on child protection issues, including maintaining a list of names, addresses and telephone numbers of social workers, to ensure that it is easy, in any emergency, for the setting and social services to work well together.
- We notify the registration authority (Ofsted) and British Gymnastics of any incident or accident and any changes in our arrangements which may affect the wellbeing of children or where an allegation of abuse is made against a member of staff.
- Contact details for the local National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) are also kept.
- Important Numbers; Thames Valley Police; Non-Emergency, 101
Duty Social Worker; (01908) 253169 / 253170
Emergency Social Work Team (evenings, weekends & bank holidays) (01908) 265545
Allegations against staff
- We ensure that all parents know how to complain about the behaviour or actions of staff or volunteers within the setting, or anyone working on the premises occupied by the setting, which may include an allegation of abuse.
- We follow the guidance of the Local Safeguarding Children Board when responding to any complaint that a member of staff, or volunteer within the setting, or anyone working on the premises occupied by the setting, has abused a child.
- We respond to any disclosure by children or staff that abuse by a member of staff or volunteer within the setting, or anyone working on the premises occupied by the setting, may have taken, or is taking place, by first recording the details of any such alleged incident.
- We refer any such complaint immediately to the local authority’s designated officer (LADO) via the early years safeguarding lead on 01908 254513, or the LADO directly on 01908 254300. We also report any such alleged incident to Ofsted & British Gymnastics, and what measures we have taken. We are aware that it is an offence not to do this.
- We co-operate entirely with any investigation carried out by children’s social care in conjunction with the police.
- Where the management committee and children’s social care agree it is appropriate in the circumstances, the club manager will suspend the member of staff, or the volunteer, for the duration of the investigation. This is not an indication of admission that the alleged incident has taken place, but is to protect the staff as well as children and families throughout the process.
- Ofsted will be informed of any allegation and the outcome, 0300 123 1231.
- Where a member of staff or volunteer has been dismissed due to engaging in activities that caused concern for the safeguarding of children or vulnerable adults, we will notify the Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA) and British Gymnastics of relevant information so that individuals who pose a threat to children (and vulnerable groups), can be identified and barred from working with these groups.
Key commitment 3
MK Springers is committed to promoting awareness of child abuse issues throughout its training and learning programmes for coaches. It is also committed to empowering gymnasts by promoting their right to be strong, resilient and listened to.
- We seek out training opportunities for all coaches & volunteers involved in the setting to ensure that they are able to recognise the signs and signals of possible physical abuse, emotional abuse, sexual abuse and neglect and that they are aware of the local authority guidelines for making referrals.
- We ensure that all coaches & volunteers know the procedures for reporting and recording their concerns in the setting.
- The layout of the gym allows for constant supervision. No gymnast is left alone with staff or volunteers in a one-to-one situation without being visible to others.
Gymnastic Training Sessions
- We encourage team building & partnership among the gymnasts. Our setting promotes keeping gymnasts safe and we promote the personal, social and emotional development of all gymnasts, so that they may grow to be strong, resilient and listened to and that they develop an understanding of why and how to keep safe.
- We create within the setting a culture of value and respect for the individual, having positive regard for gymnasts heritage arising from their colour, ethnicity, languages spoken at home, cultural and social background.
- All suspicions and investigations are kept confidential and shared only with those who need to know. Any information is shared under the guidance of the Local Safeguarding Children Board.
Support to families
- We believe in building trusting and supportive relationships with families, staff and volunteers in the club.
- We make clear to parents our role and responsibilities in relation to child protection, such as for the reporting of concerns, providing information, monitoring of the child, and liaising at all times with the local children’s social care team.
- We will continue to welcome the child and the family whilst investigations are being made in relation to any alleged abuse.
- We follow the Child Protection Policy of British Gymnastics.
- Confidential records kept on a child are shared with the child’s parents or those who have parental responsibility for the child in accordance with the Confidentiality and Client Access to Records procedure and only if appropriate under the guidance of the Local Safeguarding Children Board.
- Children Act (1989 s47)
- Protection of Children Act (1999)
- Data Protection Act (1998)
- The Children Act (Every Child Matters) (2004)
- Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act (2006)
- Sexual Offences Act (2003)
- Criminal Justice and Court Services Act (2000)
- Equalities Act (2010)
- Data Protection Act (1998) Non Statutory Guidance
- Working Together to Safeguard Children (revised HMG 2010)
- What to do if you are Worried a Child is Being Abused (HMG 2006)
- Framework for the Assessment of Children in Need and their Families (DoH 2000)
- The Common Assessment Framework for Children and Young People: A Guide for Practitioners (CWDC 2010)
- Statutory guidance on making arrangements to safeguard and promote the welfare of children under section 11 of the Children Act 2004 (HMG 2007)
- Information Sharing: Guidance for Practitioners and Managers (HMG 2008)
- Independent Safeguarding Authority: www.isa-gov.org.uk
- Safeguarding children and young people requires everyone to be committed to the highest possible standards of openness, integrity and accountability.
- MK Springers supports an environment where people feel free to raise their concerns with the knowledge that all concerns will be taken seriously.
- The term ‘whistle blowing’ is often used in such circumstances to describe the raising of a concern about practices, procedures or conduct of an individual. In gymnastics context a whistleblower may be:
- A coach or official
- A gymnast
- A parent
- A member of the public
- Concerns should be raised without delay to either the Club Welfare Officer or MK Safeguarding Children Board.
- The earlier concerns are reported, the easier it will be to take action.
- Anyone reporting a concern should provide as much information and detail as possible. This could include:
- Names of the people involved
- Dates of events
Any other relevant documentation
- MK Springers understands that whistleblowers are often very reluctant to report concerns. Thus, we recognise that whistleblowers may wish to raise concerns in confidence.
- In these circumstances, the identity of the whistleblower will be kept confidential. Any subsequent reason why disclosure may be required will be discussed in detail with the whistleblower before any action is taken.
- It must be recognised that concerns that are reported anonymously are frequently very difficult to investigate. The decision whether to investigate an anonymous allegation will be made by the CRMG based on the seriousness of the concerns and the credibility of the referral and the likelihood of identifying others who can confirm the allegations. Initial enquiries will be made to decide whether an investigation is appropriate and, if so, what form it should take.
- All concerns raised under this procedure will be treated seriously and a decision made about whether or not an investigation is appropriate.
- Depending upon the nature of the matter it may be referred the police. In these circumstances, the whistleblower may be asked to provide a written statement and give evidence to the police and/or at a British Gymnastic hearing. BG will provide support to the whistleblower during this process.
- BG will not tolerate harassment or victimisation and will take action to protect anyone who has raised a concern in good faith. Anyone who is found to have victimised or harassed a whistleblower will face disciplinary action.
- Anyone who raises concerns known to be untrue may also be subject to disciplinary action.
Reviewed October 2018